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Dancer Rachael McLaren Workout

Get a Dancer's Body With the Half Push-Up

Our friends at Self asked professional dancer Rachael McLaren which move helps keep her in performance-ready shape. She shares her fit secret below!

"Everybody is a mover; everybody is a dancer," says Rachael McLaren, a dancer for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. So how is it that pro dancers (and their amazing dancers' bodies!) often manage to strike us speechless and move us to tears? "[Dancing] is my way of communication," she explains. "My job is to refine the way I can open my body and express myself."

In order to keep those messages flowing from her lithe figure, McLaren has to keep every part of her body strong and limber — including her arms and core. "I do a lot of partnering," says the dancer, who'll be performing with the Ailey company at a Lincoln Center engagement. "You have to have a lot of strength to be able to lift up [others], and [to] be thrown around and do all the choreography that we do!"

Every dancer in the company does some version of the push-up as part of their routines, and McLaren swears by the half push up to keep her arms and midsection tight. So . . . what if the closest we'll get to dancing is the two-step and Electric Slide? We're thrilled to be a half-step closer to getting that dancer's body, right?!

The Move: Half Push Up

Get a Dancer's Body with the Half-Pushup

From a plank position, bend the arms straight back, keeping the upper arms close against your sides. Lower yourself slowly toward the floor, stopping when your arms are at a right angle (as shown). Keep the whole body very level. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.

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Source: Andrew Eccles; Alvin Ailey
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